The sorting equipment at Fiberight's new plant in Hampden -- a facility that it calls Coastal Resources of Maine -- removes items that it can sell on the recycling market before converting the remaining waste into biofuel and other materials. Credit: Photo courtesy of Fiberight

The group that represents more than 100 Maine cities and towns will be the new owner of a shuttered trash plant in Hampden.

While the Municipal Review Committee will get the facility at a fraction of the cost it took to create, it will be saddled with high costs to restart the plant that’s been dormant for two years.

The Municipal Review Committee — the group that represents the 115 Maine towns and cities that used the facility in the six months it ran — reached an agreement with the financiers of the facility earlier this year to launch a new bidding process for the facility. If no qualified bidders stepped forward, the financiers of the facility would have to accept the Municipal Review Committee’s so-called stalking horse bid, which came in at just a fraction of the overall cost of the facility. 

The Hampden facility, called Coastal Resources of Maine, has remained dormant since May 2020, when it shut down after it ran out of funds. 

As part of a final plan to sell the facility by the end of June, the financers, or bondholders, agreed to allow the Municipal Review Committee to place a last-resort offer that is worth just over $1 million. That offer is a fraction of the $52 million the bondholders paid toward the facility’s construction.

In an email to members of the Municipal Review Committee on Wednesday, the organization said it will finalize plans and documents with an aim of closing on the sale by the end of the month. 

While the group has secured the facility, it will still need to come up with the estimated $20 million needed to jumpstart the processing plant back to life. In a town hall meeting in April, Municipal Review Committee leadership said they need help from member municipalities to raise those funds. 

Currently, the Municipal Review Committee only owns the land off Coldbrook Road on which the Hampden trash plant sits. The out-of-state financiers — largely investment funds — that funded the facility’s construction have the power to sell it. Those bondholders reached an agreement with the Municipal Review Committee earlier this year that dictates the facility be sold by the end of June

While the municipal group has funds on hand to purchase the facility at that price, it’ll need to look elsewhere for the funds to restart and run the facility.

The group had nearly $12 million in assets at the end of last year, according to a January report.

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Sawyer Loftus

Sawyer Loftus is an investigative reporter at the Bangor Daily News. A graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he worked for Vermont Public Radio, The Burlington Free Press...